AFTER overseeing a relatively successful three-year tenure at the country’s oldest club, Highlanders, club chairperson Kenneth Mhlope feels he still has unfinished business and wants a fresh mandate when the club meet to choose a new executive next month.
Mhlope’s initial term will come to end on February 7 when elections for a new Bosso executive will be held in Bulawayo.
Three years ago Mhlope ascended to the throne uncontested but tables have since changed as he has to shrug off the challenge from Bulawayo businessman Johnfat Sibanda this time around, who is also bidding to take over the reins at the country’s oldest club.
Mhlope is delivering a gospel of continuity with some unfinished business on crucial projects that he had started which he hopes will benefit the club immensely in the long run, something that has endeared him with the club’s followers.
“We have been very unfortunate this year because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which has caused devastating effects to the sporting world. I’m, however, proud that in the midst of all this we managed to raise funds for players’ salaries and our staff,” Mhlope told the Daily News on Sunday.
“You will find that it came at the back of our sponsorship termination and it was really a huge challenge for me and my executive. We relied heavily on stakeholders and benefactors, who kept donating food stuff and money which saw us sailing through.”
But despite the setbacks which were largely as a result of Covid-19, Mhlope, is being credited for stabilising the Bosso ship under harsh circumstances in the past three years that he has been the chairperson.
In an effort to ensure the club becomes self-reliant financially, Mhlope played a pivotal role in securing a mine in Inyathi, Bubi District and have since given the nod to start operations there.
‘‘The mine is a great income generating initiative for the club and I’m almost certain that the mining claim will with no doubt improve our cash flow as we try to turn the club into a successful business entity,” he said.
“This is exactly the reason why I’m seeking a fresh mandate. There is still a lot of work to be carried out for instance sourcing proper equipment and many other things to ensure smooth operations. I want to leave a legacy at Bosso the same way (Dumiso) Gumede did.
“To me I think securing the mine is one of my biggest achievements in my first tenure. I’m saying to myself even if I’m not re-elected, I have left a legacy for the club. The mine should make the club self-sufficient. I am grateful to the people who helped us attain the mine, it was not easy really. We have to run the mine as a business entity completely detached from the football side. These are the things that I’m looking forward to doing should I be re-elected.”
The Bulawayo businessman is also hoping to use the next three years to finish the construction of club training grounds for all the age groups while producing players from their youth systems into the first team.
“We are trying to have our own training ground. We have been paying to train but at the present moment we are working on having our own grounds for juniors and senior sides. We have finished planting the lawn on one of the grounds and the other one is halfway through,” Mhlope said.
“Just that progress has been hampered by Covid-19, otherwise we are hoping by March or April next year we should be using our own training facilities.
“We were disturbed by this pandemic. My vision was not to go out there and buy players but promote our own from the juniors. It’s something that I have made a priority. For now we are putting in place a very strong squad because we also want to win the championship.”
And now that the club is debt free after clearing the legacy debt Mhlope is hoping to attract more sponsors to partner the club going forward. Recently Bosso secured a three-year replica deal with On The Ball worth a massive US$300 000.